Raise the Village on iPhone: An inspiring game of making a difference

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Raise the Village
Social games have proven well over the past year their charitable worth. FarmVille alone has raised millions to erect a school in Haiti in wake of the recent, tragic earthquake disaster. But what if the game and the cause were one in the same? New Charity Era L3C and Intersog have already achieved just that with Raise the Village. A mobile social game that inherently contributes to a social cause, Raise the Village allows players to foster their own Ugandan village while contributing to the growth and sustainability of a real village in Uganda, Kapir Atiira. If you've yet to pay real cash for virtual goods, this could very well be the game that inspires you to take that leap.

Find our full impressions of Raise the Village after the break.

Raise the Village in action
Raise the Village, available on all 3G plus iOS devices including the iPad and iPod Touch for free, tasks players with cultivating a Ugandan village, increasing the Spirit, Health and Mind of its people as well as its population by placing new homes, crop farms and plenty other essentials on an expanding plot of land. Keep in mind that every item and task in the game is directly inspired by what these Ugandan villagers need and do every day. For instance, if you direct a village hut to create soap for your villagers within the iPhone game, Charity Era L3C will literally deliver bars of soap to the people of Kapir Atiira.

This is done through Florin, the game's paid currency. For every action performed or item purchased using Florin, Charity Era L3C will deliver that exact item to the Kapir Atiira, because only the items that the people of Kapir Atiira need appear in the game. In other words, just by playing the game and making purchases you're literally providing aid to this real Ugandan village in need. When items are created using Florin and delivered to Kapir Atiira, the company will send you photos in real time of the aid items being delivered. Bought a few mosquito nets for your digital village? Days later, you'll get a message from the game containing photos of that same delivery being made to Kapir Atiira.

Players are encouraged to compete with one another and compare their villages' Spirit, Mind and Health levels as well as maximum population. In order to find friends to play with, you can use both Facebook Connect and your phone's contact list for that.

Soap Action
Players can also earn Village Points through their actions, which allow them to enjoy many parts of the game without spending their money on Florin. Tasks such as creating buildings and learning how a Ugandan village like Kapir Atiira truly operates can be performed using Village Points. However, there isn't much reason to play Raise the Village if you don't plan on donating outside of learning about the village. And that is the primary hurdle for Raise the Village to clear.

While the gameplay is smooth and its presentation is top notch for a game designed to run on nearly all iOS devices, it's sad to say that Raise the Village is one of the first social games where payment is almost required for full enjoyment of the game. But when the purchases revolve around fostering a real-life, impoverished village community, is that really a bad thing? Is that too much pressure for the average social gamer? While those questions will be up for debate for some time, it can't be argued that Raise the Village is one of the most well conceived, planned and presented social games on the iPhone and is hopefully the start of a growing trend.

Click here to check out Raise the Village in the App Store>

Have you tried Raise the Village yet? What are your thoughts on it? If not, what do you think of the idea of social games designed toward social causes? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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